Book Review, The Devil at My Doorstep, by David A. Bego, 185pp, David Bego, 2009
This book is Mr. Bego's account of his battle with the SEIU (Service Employees International Union). The battle had lasted over three years when the book was written with Mr. Bego's Executive Management Services (EMS) winning though the SEIU continues to fight.
This is a worthwhile book, one every voter should read since our congress is considering passing the poorly named EFCA (Employee Free Choice Act). That proposed law would be better called the Employee Slavery Act since it would deprive workers of the right to a secret election if a union wants to organize them. Mr. Bego describes how the SEIU lied, threatened him, his customers, and his employees in order to force them into that union. He also describes many of the bad features of the EFCA as well as how and why he fought for the rights of his employees.
Unfortunately Bego could have used a good editor. The book has all too many problems that should have been fixed. For example he describes a concept that “alluded” some of the people he was talking to. Of course he meant that it eluded them. Mr. Bego is also a bit heavy on tooting his own horn. However it is well worth wading through the problems in the book to get the information. I congratulate him for telling a story that badly needed to be told, even apparently publishing it himself.
The story starts when the SEIU decided to organize cleaning firms in Mr. Bego's area. They had no intention of giving workers any choice but instead demanded that those companies sign “neutrality” agreements. That meant that the company would not be allowed to present its side to the employees but that if over half the workers signed cards asking for it, all employees would become union members. They then proceeded to put pressure on employees to sign, including both veiled and direct threats.
The SEIU also promised to get workers a big raise though other companies whose workers were in that union were actually paying less than were EMS employees. Mr. Bego claims that this was a consistent pattern with that union, make big promises but then not deliver once they had the union dues.
That union also filed a great number of false accusations against EMU, showed up at employee’s homes and committed other acts that threatened harm or interfered with people’s lives.
To be clear, the author claims not to be anti-union. In fact in the first part of the book he points out that unions have done good things in many cases. He is, however, against the kind of heavy-handed tactics the SEIU is known for. He is also against the EFCA. In that he is justified.
In spite of its problems this book is what I would consider a must read. Many in congress are pushing the EFCA which would deny employees the right to a secret election. The effect would be to allow union pressure and in many cases the employer would not even have the opportunity to present his side.